No charcoal to leave farms without proper packing facilities

Random inspections to be done
The NAU has warned producers not to underestimate the danger of not weathering charcoal properly, adding that this process will now be done by processors.
Ellanie Smit
No charcoal may be loaded into containers on farms where there are no proper packing facilities, the Charcoal Association of Namibia warned.

According to the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU), to protect the Namibian charcoal industry from a ban, the association held a strategic meeting with some shipping lines transporting containers filled with charcoal.

The union said various points were discussed, including the fact that burning charcoal containers on ships poses danger to the industry.

“There are many discrepancies around containers being packed according to standard operating procedures of shipping lines; even the vanning process is often not done correctly. This poses a danger for containers burning on a ship,” it said.

The NAU stressed that charcoal producers underestimate the danger of not weathering charcoal properly, adding that weathering will now be done by processors as producers do not weather charcoal properly.

Weathered coal is the slow disintegration of coal into fires in surface stockpiles under the action of the weather, particularly frost after a wet period.

According to the union, a new concept was introduced is known as stabilisation of charcoal.

“This is the process a producer must follow before charcoal can be transported to the processor. Only processors can guarantee weathering.”

It added that a new service will be introduced where anyone who wants to ship charcoal will be inspected randomly to ensure proper weathering procedures have been followed.

Furthermore, a combined general standard will be set up for all shipping lines, outlining the common procedures that must be followed by all.

Individual shipping lines will still have their own procedures prescribed by their head offices, the NAU said.

The multimillion-dollar charcoal industry is one of the fastest growing enterprises in Namibia, providing employment to thousands of people.

In 2019, the sector employed close to 10 000 workers who produced about 200 000 tonnes of charcoal - up from 120 000 tonnes in 2018.

Approximately 210 000 tonnes of charcoal were exported in 2020.